Coordinated by the Water Institute, the Carbonate Critical Zone Research Coordination Network hosted its first Workshop as a series of virtual sessions from August 3 to September 29, 2020. The workshop aimed to provide a networking opportunity for those interested in exploring how Critical Zone processes are affected by mineral content (from carbonate-rich to silicate rich lithologies) and to increase participation from traditionally underrepresented groups. During the workshop, participants generated research ideas and science questions for advancing research around carbonate critical zone characteristics and processes. These ideas will foster development of white papers, peer reviewed publications, and seed  future proposal development.

With an attendance of 67 participants from 46 institutions (including participants from Germany, Canada and Puerto Rico), the workshop consisted of eight virtual sessions: an opening plenary, six working group sessions and a closing plenary. During the open plenary, the Steering Committee presented an overview of the Carbonate RCN and the expected goals and outcomes of the virtual meetings. Dr. Daniella Rempe (University of Texas) gave a presentation on weathering, water storage, and carbon cycling in the vadose zone, and Dr. Will White provided a short virtual field trip to a karst spring system. Participants were then assigned to six working groups based on their research and professional interests and  incorporating career stage and demographic diversity within the groups. Each working group identified and prioritized key science questions for a specific theme related to Carbonate Critical Zone processes and presented their results during the closing plenary. The closing plenary also featured presentations by Dr. Brenee King (Kansas State University) and Dr. Laura Crossey (University of New Mexico) about their experiences in promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the Geosciences, followed by a discussion on creating a DEI Action Plan for the RCN.

The steering committee for the network include Jon Martin (U Florida), Laura Toran (Temple U), Matt Covington (U Arkansas), Jenn Macalady (Penn State U), Jim Heffernan (Duke U), Pam Sullivan (U Kansas), and Wendy Graham (U Florida). Water Institute Research Coordinator Paloma Carton de Grammont serves as coordinator and process facilitator of the network.

To learn more about the virtual workshop and view the plenary session recordings, visit the project webpage: